Directors Rule 22-96
City of Seattle Department of Construction and Land Use
|Page: N/A||Supersedes: 19-88|
New Dolphins Not Requiring Use or Building Permits
|Publication: July 11, 1996||Effective: August 1, 1996|
|Code and Section Reference:
Land Use Code SMC 23.40.002, 23.60.092, and 23.84.036, and Building Code, SBC 106 & 220
|Building Code/Procedural Requirements
Land Use Code/Procedural Requirements
|Type of Rule: Procedure|
Section 23.40.002 of the Seattle Municipal Code states that:
The establishment or change of use of any structures, buildings or premises, or any part thereof, shall require approval according to the procedures set forth in Chapter 23.76, Procedures for Master Use Permits and Council Land Use Decisions.
Section 23.84.036 of the Seattle Municipal Code defines "structure" as:
Anything constructed or erected on the ground or any improvement built up or composed of parts joined together in some definite manner and affixed to the ground, including fences, walls and signs, but not including poles, flower bed frames and such minor incidental improvements.
Sections 23.60.936 of the Seattle Municipal Code defines "structure" in the Shoreline District as:
A permanent or temporary edifice or building, or any piece of work artificially built or composed of parts artificially joined together in some definite manner, whether installed on, above, or below the surface of the ground or water including fences, walls, signs, piers, floats and drydocks, but not including poles, flower-bed frames and other minor incidental improvements, or vessels.
Section 23.60.940 of the Seattle Municipal Code defines an accessory use in the Shoreline District as:
A use which is incidental and intrinsic to the function of a principal use and is not a separate business establishment unless a home occupation.
Section 106.1 of the Seattle Building Code (SBC) provides that:
It shall be unlawful to erect, construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, improve, remove, change the occupancy of, or demolish any building or structure in the City, or allow the same to be done, without first obtaining a building permit for each such building or structure from the building official. All work shall comply with this building code, even where no permit is required.
Section 220 of the SBC defines structure as:
That which is built or constructed, an edifice or building of any kind, or any piece of work artificially built up or composed of parts joined together in some definite manner.
Neither the SMC nor the SBC defines "dolphin." Websters New Collegiate Dictionary defines "dolphin" as "a cluster of closely driven piles used as a fender for a dock or as a mooring or guide for boats."
The SMC, through the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) regulates piling in Section 23.60.092 as follows:
Piers, floats, pilings, breakwaters, drydocks and similar accessory structures for moorage shall be permitted as accessory to permitted uses subject to the development standards unless specifically prohibited in the applicable shoreline environment.
New dolphins will not be considered to be structures which require either a building permit or separate use component approval. A shoreline substantial development permit is required. Environmental review, and approval by the Army Corps of Engineers and/or the Washington State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, may be required.
Because dolphins are a cluster of piles, they are regulated by the SMP restrictions on piling and their placement requires a shoreline substantial development permit. Although dolphins fit within the definition of "structure" under both the Land Use Code and Shoreline Master Program, they are always a component of a shoreline use; since their placement will not establish any new distinct use at a site, a separate use permit is not required. For example, dolphins may be installed as part of a commercial moorage; the use of the lot would be for moorage, and the dolphins would be an accessory use not requiring a different use permit.
Although dolphins could be considered "structures" under the SBC, it is not possible to determine the load requirements for structures such as dolphins and therefore they cannot be reviewed under the SBC. A building permit is therefore not necessary.